Saturday, January 8, 2011

High Flight

This is my favorite poem. It was written by John Magee, an American who joined the Canadian Air Force during the Battle of Britain, because the United States hadn't joined in the fighting. He was inspired to write this poem as he was flying his Spitfire over England at 30,000 feet, and once he landed he finished it and sent it in a letter to his parents. He died in 1941, at age 19, only a few months after writing this.

Oh! I have slipped the surly bonds of earth
And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings.
Sunward I've climbed, and joined the tumbling mirth
Of sun-split clouds,
And done a hundred things you have not dreamed of -
Wheeled and soared and swung high in the sunlit silence.
Hovering there, I've chased the shouting wind along,
And flung my eager craft through the footless halls of air.
Up, up the long delirious burning blue
I've topped the windswept heights with easy grace
Where never lark, or ever eagle flew.
And while with silent lifting mind
I've trod the high untrespassed sanctity of space,
Put out my hand,
And touched the face of God.

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